International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 73-93

First online:

Social Relationships Among Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta) in Two Free-Ranging Troops at Berenty Reserve, Madagascar

  • Masayuki NakamichiAffiliated withDepartment of Ethology, Faculty of Human Sciences, Osaka University
  • , Naoki KoyamaAffiliated withCenter for African Area Studies, Kyoto University

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We observed two free-ranging troops of ring-tailed lemurs at the Berenty Reserve, Madagascar. Kinship affinities in these troops are known only for mothers and their offspring ≤4 years of age. We attempted to quantify social relationships. Almost all agonistic interactions were dyadic, and triadic agonistic interactions, such as alliances, were very rare. Dominance hierarchies in both sexes in the two troops were not linear. As in cercopithecine monkeys, mothers were dominant over their adult daughters. However, the daughters were not ranked immediately below their mothers. Close proximity and social grooming occurred more frequently between closely related females, such as mother–daughter and sister–sister dyads, than between unrelated females. Frequent-proximity relations also occurred between adult males that had emigrated from another troop and entered the present troop together, even though they did not rank closely to one another. Subordinates were likely to groom and to greet dominants more frequently than vice versa. During group encounters, particular females were involved in agonistic interactions with animals of other troops, regardless of dominance rank. Adult males, regardless of their dominance rank, but not adult females, constantly tried to drive solitary males away.

Lemur catta social relationships dominance rank agonistic interactions proximity grooming greeting confrontation solitary males